In the ancient Roman arena a Samnite gladiator is finishing off an opponent much to the joy of the crowd. Unfortunately for our warrior the defeated gladiator wont stay dead, in fact you could say he resurrects in time honoured zombie fashion and has an immediate taste for human flesh. Making things even more bothersome, there appears to be a whole horde of other defeated gladiators who have joined the undead ranks.
Escaping via a stadium tunnel, the Samnite is joined by another gladiator and a boy he rescues, as the trio try to find a way out of the living hell they have just been dropped into. Hindering their escape is the zombie horde and other denizens of the Roman arena. Well it certainly beats a farmhouse in Pennyslvania as a setting, lets check out the comic.
Rombies #0 operates as a kind of prologue to the main story judging from the snippets I've seen of the next issue of the series. How exactly a bunch of gladiators came to be infected is never explained, but early days and the story is just rolling. We might find out later in the series, or maybe it's not going to be of overriding importance in the long term. I guess the important thing to take note of is who survives, and at what cost in terms of personal regret and self worth. I've got a feeling the prologue is going to be of importance in future issues, rather than simply leveraging us into the series, but that's for the future to determine.
Writer Tom Taylor, (website addy), achieves exactly what his prologue is aimed at achieving, getting us the Readers into the story and atmosphere. Clearly set in Imperial Rome, the ancient world is about to face a zombie apocalypse, now how cool is that for a setting. At this stage we only know the zombies are coming, right in the middle of Rome none the less, but are not given sufficient detail to determine if this is a sort of historic Romero setting, or some other universe. So don't ask I don't know if we're talking shamblers or runners here, ask me after the next issue or two. On the bright side of the gladius Taylor looks to have his plot rocking even at this early stage, and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing where things might lead in coming issues. Sorry no idea if this is a graphic novel being published in parts or an ongoing comic with different storylines headed our way. Whatever the case may be, I think I can sign off on good times ahead.
Please note I'm not at all suggesting you should judge Taylor's writing abilities from just this comic. While the Writer is clearly on his game here, we're still talking a prologue almost sales piece rather than a fully fledged plot line. Rombies #0 is off to a good start and does what it's intended to do however, which pretty much means the Writer is spot on.
Hitting the artwork is the extremely talented Skye Ogden, who has certainly caught my attention with this comic. Skye maintains a blog right here. The Artist has the ability to draw action with a fine touch that brings the kinetic side to the fore giving a real sense of movement. There's a lot of awesome detail going down, but I would hasten to add that the detail doesn't detract from the actual story being told, something to savour for those of use that like to flick through the pages after getting our plot on. I'm not even going to try and find a comparison to Ogden's artwork here, but for no apparent reason I kept thinking European rather than American influences.
To the technical side of the arena, Rombies #0 arrives in U.S comic book format, the inside panels are black and white, while the cover is in glorious colour. Actually making out the title isn't a simple matter of glancing at it due to the font in use. Minor quibble kids. You wont have any problems reading the actual script, nicely penned, and I guess we have to give Gestalt a thumbs up for a professional quality comic that should keep even the most cynical punter happy with life. Please note I'm reviewing off the online edition, but will hit more comprehensive territory when we order in the print editions, (waiting on the release of the next Issue in order to bundle things in a single order).
Overall I have to say I'm quite excited by Zombies #0, looks like Taylor and Ogden have got their grooves on, we're heading for an excellent experience here I'm sure. While the first comic in the series isn't giving away too much in terms of where we might be headed, it does provide sense of place and gives the reader a chance to check out the style they are letting themselves in for. Full recommendation folks, Rombies promises to be quite the trip into the zombie paradise by the dashboard light, drop your linen and start your grinning, we're in for some fun times.
Rombies #0 is available for purchase via Gestalt's store for the ridiculously low price of $2.95. If still unconvinced, what are you some sort of sceptic that doesn't believe the zombie apocalypse is coming? - you can also read the comic online for free. Now you have to agree that's a deal for the ages.